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The dictionary defines the word worry as “1. To feel uneasy or troubled…2. A source of nagging concern. 3. To torment oneself with disturbing thoughts. Torment! Uh, yeah, felt that.

Here’s another:  to seize by the throat with teeth and shake or mangle, as one animal does to another, or to harass by repeated biting and snapping. Wow.

So why would I do this to myself? Joyce Meyer in The Battlefield of the Mind says “Anxiety and worry are both attacks on the mind intended to distract us from serving the Lord…to press our faith down so it cannot rise up and help us live in victory.” Sounds about right.

That darkest before the dawn thing? Those hours between…oh let’s say…. about 1 am til about 4 am or so (hmm..wonder how I came up with those hours?) are perfect for worry and anxiety. Perfectly dark. Perfectly quiet. Perfectly lonely. Perfectly vulnerable. Perfect for fretful, fearful thoughts that keep me awake at night. That destroy peace. That cause me to live in fear rather than faith.

That’s when those repetitious thoughts keep biting and snapping and shaking and mangling. It’s hard to dismiss them in the darkness. And sometimes that darkness isn’t even at night.

Ephesians 6:17 tells us about “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” To combat the darkness and the attack of the enemy, we need to use this weapon. I love how Joyce puts it: “A sword in its sheath won’t do any good during an attack.” There have been many anxious, fearful nights when I’ve relied on memorized scripture and prayer to get me to the dawn.

The other night was one of them. It was filled with sleeplessness and nightmares. One of those I’m still shivering about. But my Jesus reminded me that He was here. He knows I’m a “sunset girl.” Sunrises don’t usually have the same impact on me. They sneak in inconspicuously. But He knew I needed the hope of a dawn. So He sent me a spectacular sunrise. It was fleeting, but I pray my comfort, my peace, my faith is not.

I’ve heard it said that worry is the opposite of faith. That we’re not trusting God to take care of things. Of course, we need to make plans, solve problems and take action when we’re supposed to. But worrying tries to put US in control instead of the Creator of the Universe….the one who actually IS in control. A friend gave me a card many years ago that I still NEED to read quite often:

Good morning. This is God. I’ll be handling all your problems today. I won’t need your help. So have a great day. I love you!